The Ultimate Guide to Applying to Northwestern’s HPME Program
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BS/MD programs are cohesive programs that award both a Bachelor of Science degree and a medical degree successively. If you are accepted and enroll in one of these programs, you will be guaranteed admission to the medical school associated with the program, so you won’t have to go through the process of applying or, in most cases, taking the MCAT, as long as you meet the program requirements. Some of these programs last seven years, while others last eight. Admission to BS/MD programs is generally extremely competitive, and the programs are usually quite small. To learn more about these programs, read A Complete Introduction to BS/MD Programs.
Northwestern University’s HPME program
Northwestern University’s Honors Program in Medical Education (HPME) awards participants a bachelor’s degree from one of Northwestern’s six undergraduate colleges and an MD from the Feinberg School of Medicine. (For more information about Northwestern’s undergraduate schools, check out The Ultimate Guide to Applying to Northwestern.) Students generally complete the program in seven to eight years: three or four years spent in an undergraduate school and four years in medical school.
The program allows students more flexibility in designing their undergraduate curricula
by providing the security of already knowing they have been accepted to medical school. You can also combine this program with additional degrees such as the MPH (Master’s in Public Health). Need-based financial aid is available to help you with the cost of attendance, and if you finish the program in seven years, you may save money in tuition. For more facts and information about Northwestern’s HPME, visit the program website.
Applying to HPME
Because admission to HPME is so competitive and space is very limited, only highly accomplished students are encouraged to apply. You must specifically request the HPME application form through the undergraduate admissions office. (Note that the deadline for students expecting to matriculate in 2017 has passed; the deadline to request an application was December 1, 2016.) The admissions office may not always grant your request; according to the website, “Only students that demonstrate superior high school achievement and academic aptitude will receive an application.” At minimum, students must meet the following requirements (available on the HPME website):
High School Courses
To be considered for the HPME, you must have 16 units of high school credit. A unit represents one year of work in a subject. Within those 16 units, the following must be included:
Mathematics : 4 units*
Chemistry : 1 unit
Physics : 1 unit
Biology : 1 unit
English : 4 units
Foreign Language : 2 units
(3 or 4 units of the same language are preferred)
* Before beginning the HPME, students must take a year of calculus, including differential and integral calculus. If your high school does not provide such a course, you must take a suitable course before entering Northwestern. AP Chemistry is strongly recommended. If a student does not take AP Chemistry and is admitted into the program, they must take the Northwestern Chemistry placement exam the summer before they matriculate to Northwestern.
Applicants are required to take the SAT Reasoning Exam and SAT Subject Exams in Math Level 2 and Chemistry. The ACT with writing may be substituted for the SAT Reasoning Exam. There are no substitutions for the Math Level 2 and Chemistry Subject Exams.
While there are no standardized test score “cut offs” for the HPME, we do anticipate that our applicants will have scored well on their college entrance exams. The average test scores from our last application year are listed below:
Average Test Scores from 2015-2016 Application Season
SAT Reasoning Exam:
SAT Critical Reading : 747
SAT Critical Math : 792
SAT Critical Writing : 770
ACT with Writing:
ACT Composite : 35
ACT Writing : 10
SAT Subject Exams
SAT Chemistry : 776
SAT Math Level 2 : 785
Due to the variation in GPA calculation among high schools, HPME does not have a GPA cut off for applicants. It should be noted, however, that students admitted into the program are generally at or near the top of their class.
In addition to completing the HPME application you must also complete a regular Northwestern application, which uses the Common App and supplement. HPME does not permit early decision, so you must use the regular decision timeline. Be sure to check the website to ensure that you request the HPME application before the deadline.
There are no strict GPA or test score requirements, but successful applicants tend to have reached a high level of academic accomplishment. Visit the website to learn more about entrance requirements and what makes candidates successful.
Committing to HPME
Once you accept a slot in HPME, your admission to Feinberg School of Medicine is guaranteed as long as you meet all program requirements during your undergraduate years. These requirements include certain course requirements, such as Chemistry, Biology and Physics, as well as maintaining a minimum GPA both in your science classes and overall.
You will not be requirement to take the MCAT if you choose to attend the Feinberg School of Medicine. You are not required to attend Northwestern’s medical school if you participate in the undergraduate component of the program, and are free to apply to other medical schools if you so choose; however, you will need to meet those medical schools’ standards and requirements and take the MCAT for admission.
You should only enter the HPME program unless you truly intend to see it through. Otherwise, you will be giving up a slot that potentially could have gone to another applicant. While HPME and other BS/MD programs have a number of advantages, they are not for everyone. If you are not completely certain that you want to ultimately pursue a medical career, you can always focus on another major while fulfilling premed requirements. Read BS/MD Programs vs. Premed: Which Is Right for You? for more help on deciding what kind of program is right for you.
For more information on BS/MD programs, check out the following posts:
Interested in Northwestern’s undergraduate programs? Read The Ultimate Guide to Applying to Northwestern.
Want to attend a BS/MD program? CollegeVine can help you get there. All of our BSMD specialists come from the top accelerated med programs in the country, including Northwestern HPME and Brown PLME. They will help you craft stellar essays, resumes, and applications, as well as assist you with interview coaching and preparation. BS/MD programs are extremely competitive, so every bit of effort counts. Learn more about our 7 Year Med Program BSMD Applications Help.